My father, Alfred Guido LoDico was born on December 31st, 1914 in Mansfield, Massachusetts. He was the youngest child of twelve and the only child of Ignazio LoDico and Francesca Paola Restivo born in America. He was raised by his older sisters, especially his sister Maria LoDico, who was thirteen years older.
In 1940, at the age of 25, my father became a Mansfield policeman.
It was a short lived career.
One night he stopped a drunk driver in town only to discover it was one of his friends. He wound up driving his friend home and putting him to bed. Of course, that did not go over well with his superiors and he was reprimanded.
My father thought it over and decided he would resign, saying, "I can't arrest my friends".
The story of my father's short career as a cop has been told to me many times. It wasn't until 2002 and a visit back to Massachusetts that I found this newspaper article in a old family scrapbook.
I always make a day out of visiting my relatives in Quincy, Massachusetts when I visit home and, with scrapbook and old photos in hand, I went to Quincy to show my relatives what I have found.
Tucked away in one of the folds of the scrapbook was this photograph of my father at a wedding.
When I discovered it, I was sitting at my Aunt Frances' kitchen table with my Aunt's Sally, Norma, and Frances, and my Uncle Louie. These four siblings are the children of Maria LoDico, my father's sister. I know, technically they are my first cousins, but I grew up calling them 'Aunt and Uncle' and to this day, I cannot call them anything else.
I said to them, "I think this is the first time I ever saw my father in his policeman's uniform".
My Uncle Louie began the tell us the story of my father and the friend he drove home and we all listened to the story again.
When he finished my Aunt Sally said, "You know that story don't you Michael? But you probably don't know the rest. Your father came to visit, his older sister, my mother Mary, and told her all about his decision to quit the Mansfield police force. You know they were very close. Your father gave his badge to my mother that day. I remember seeing it, somewhere..."
She got up and said she would be back, and walked back to her house, her mother's home, just around the corner, to look for the badge.
Sally came back a few hours later and said she couldn't find it. It was probably mis-placed or moved or possibly given to someone. After all, over 60 years had passed.
Well, the next summer rolled around and I was again in Massachusetts for my annual summer visit. Again, I was sitting in my Aunt's Frances' kitchen in Quincy waiting for all the relatives to gather for the day. When my Aunt's Norma and Sally and Uncle Louie showed up we all hugged and kissed.
Then Sally said, "Michael, I have something for you".
My Uncle Louie handed me a wooden box. It was about 8 inches wide by 10 inches long and about 2 inches thick. It was made of 1/8 inch finished plywood, with mitered corners and painted white. I knew Louie had made this box by hand. I could only imagine the hours it took.
On the front were the words: TO MICHAEL, A LOVING MEMORY FROM YOUR DAD
I lifted the cover that fit snugly over the box and inside, in an oak frame, against a red velvet backing, was my father's Mansfield Policeman's badge. Badge Number 20.
Another set of words said: ALFRED
GUIDO 'BED' LODICO